Artscape National Youth Music Competition winners

Artscape announces the winners of the 2010 National Youth Music Competition for classical pianists and orchestral instrumentalists.

After an exciting and challenging week of elimination rounds where 29 contestants between the ages of 14 and 19 years from around South Africa competed in the Artscape National Youth Music Competition for classical pianists and orchestral instrumentalists, Melissa Tu (17) from Cape Town was declared the Overall Winner receiving R12 500 and a gold medal. Melissa also won the Piano Category Prize of R5 000, a silver medal and the Yaltah Menuhin Award for the Best Pianist receiving R2 500 and a silver medal. The competition offered prizes totalling R90 000. The Gala evening took place on Saturday 9 October 2010 in the Artscape Theatre.

The final round contestants performed with the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO) conducted by Maestro Victor Yampolsky and their performance with the orchestra as well as their recital in the third round were taken into consideration for the judging.

Other category prize winners, receiving R5 000 and silver medals were: Thapelo Masita (16) from Bloemfontein on cello in the Strings category and Visser Liebenberg (19) from Pretoria on clarinet in the Wind Instrument category.

Runners up in the Piano, Strings and Wind Instrument categories were Caryn Reed (17) piano, from Bloemfontein, Donne de Kock (16) violin and Levi Alexander (19) baritone saxophone, both from Cape Town. All three received R 2 500 and bronze medals.

Levi Alexander also won R1 500 for the best performance of a South African Work, Thapelo Masita received R2 000 for the best performance of a concerto in the final round and Donne de Kock won the Pieter Schoeman Award of R4 000 for the best violinist. The most promising participant, who was not a finalist, was Seiren Wi (16) on piano. She is from Cape Town and her prize was R1 500. All final round participants received R2 500.

The awards were generously donated by the Rupert Music Foundation and two international sponsors, the Yaltah Menuhin Memorial Fund and the Pieter Schoeman Award.

The UNISA Prize for each category winner and Category Runner-up enables the recipient to enter a UNISA Grade examination in 2011 free of charge.

Adjudicators for the competition are all widely recognized academics and professional musicians and included; Prof Nic Basson (all instruments), Sergei Burdukov (wind instruments), Malané Hofmeyr-Burger (wind instruments), Marian Lewin (strings), Prof Ella Fourie (piano), Michael Maas (piano), Kutlwano Masote (strings), Pauline Nossel (piano) and Lucia Scott (strings).

Michael Maas CEO of Artscape and chair of the adjudicating panel congratulated the competitors for their exceptional performances and praised the teachers for their on-going dedication and support of young musicians.

Mr Maas started the National Youth Music Competition at the University of Port Elizabeth in 1984 where he was employed at the time. After many successful years it closed due to lack of sponsorship. In 2007 in collaboration with the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, Fine Music Radio and the City of Cape Town he initiated the competition at Artscape.

‘Careers in the performing arts most often flow from a continuous preparation process, states Maas. ‘This process invariably involves lots of practice and dedication to reach a level of perfection in the performance standards. It is Artscape’s mission to develop young people with exceptional talent in order to reach their dreams. Practicing behind closed doors does not prepare the individual for the reason the practice is undertaken – to perform on a stage! The more public performance opportunities taken, for better or worse, the more the development process is happening. We are encouraged once again this year of the very high standard of the contestants and the variety of instruments represented.

Issued on behalf of Artscape
Media Enquiries
Michael Maas, Artscape, Tel: 021 410 9921
Berniece Friedmann
021 434 4951
082 892 5877
Photos are available and interviews delighted to arrange


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